“If I could recommend only one book of early Texas, it would be The Evolution of a State” (A. C. Greene)
172. SMITHWICK, Noah. The Evolution of a State or Recollections of Old Texas Days. Austin: Gammel Book Company, . , 354 pp., 5 engraved plates (including photographic frontispiece of author), text illustrations. 8vo, original blue cloth with lettering, ruling, and decoration in black. Fine, bright, and tight.
First edition. Basic Texas Books 189: “One of the most anecdotal of all early Texas memoirs. It is full of insights into the major and minor events of his time [with] a fascinating depiction of social life in Texas when it was a colony and a republic. Smithwick served with the Texas Rangers and lived for a time with the Comanches, learning their language and representing them in making a treaty with the Texans in 1838. He gives us anecdotes available nowhere otherwise on men he knew, such as James Bowie, Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, David G. Burnet, Gail Borden...and others. He tells of smuggling, counterfeiting, gambling, drinking, and dancing with a frankness lacking in most other Texas autobiographies.” Bradford 506. Campbell, p. 173. Clark, Old South III:105. Dobie, p. 52: “Best of all books dealing with life in early Texas.” Flake 8148: “Lyman Wight’s colony in Texas and ‘Mormon Mills.’” Graff 3872. Greene, The Fifty Best Books on Texas, p. 15: “Smithwick rose above the general level of pettiness of so many Texas colonists. He forgives easily, and on more than one occasion he sides with the Indians and with Negroes who had been unjustly or prejudicially handled. He seems particularly fair about Negroes, in a day that was seldom understanding. Smithwick shows a keen sense of humor, not the least about himself.... If I could recommend only one book of early Texas, it would be The Evolution of a State.” Howes S726: “He was the blacksmith who forged the knife bearing Colonel Bowie’s name.” Sabin 85099. Tate, Indians of Texas 2112: “His valuable book incorporates much on military service and Indian fighting, including the 1840 Council House Fight and the Battle of Plum Creek. He likewise includes material on the Tonkawa scouts, Comanche customs and language, and treaty negotiations with the Comanches. Researchers have relied heavily upon materials in this highly descriptive book.” ($250-500)
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